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School Effects on Socio-emotional Development, School-Based Arrests, and Educational Attainment (WP-20-06)

Kirabo Jackson, Shanette Porter, John Easton, Alyssa Blanchard, and Sebastián Kiguel

Using value-added models, the researchers find that high schools impact students’ self-reported socioemotional development (SED) by enhancing social well-being and promoting hard work. Conditional on schools’ test score impacts, schools that improve SED reduce school-based arrests, and increase high-school completion, college-going, and college persistence. Schools that improve social well-being have larger effects on attendance and behavioral infractions in high school, while those that promote hard work have larger effects on GPA. Importantly, school SED value-added is more predictive of school impacts on longer-run outcomes than school test-score value-added. As such, for the longer-run outcomes, using both SED and test score value-added more than doubles the variance of the explained school effect relative to using test score value-added alone. Results suggest that adolescence can be a formative period for socioemotional growth, high-school impacts on SED can be captured using self-report surveys, and SED can be fostered by schools to improve longer-run outcomes. These findings are robust to tests for plausible forms of selection.

This paper has been published in American Economic Review: Insights.

Kirabo Jackson, Abraham Harris Professor of Education and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Shanette Porter, Director of Research and Senior Fellow, Mindset Scholars Network

John Easton, Senior Fellow, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research

Alyssa Blanchard, Research Analyst, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research

Sebastián Kiguel, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

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